It’s a pretty new trend, and it’s a very fun one, but it’s also one of the hardest things to achieve. Pastel, bright, rainbow hair looks amazing in all those Instagram photos you see, but that’s not reality. In truth, these hair colours take a lot of time, money, maintenance and patience to achieve these looks. Bright hair doesn’t happen overnight, but in the end the result is often incredibly fulfilling.
Depending on how long your hair is and if you want a whole head or only tips, the price for these colours will vary greatly. It also depends on your natural hair colour, as darker hair will need more appointments and longer bleach time than fair hair. Even though the actual pots of colour are pretty cheap, with both Manic Panic and Directions hair dye ranging from $10-$20, the salon will often charge you upwards of $300 for the whole thing, and significantly more if it’s your first time bleaching and you have dark, or long hair.
It’s not quick
The first time I went to a pastel colour, I sat in a salon chair for 8 hours and still emerged incomplete and with the ugliest, most destroyed blonde-ish hair you’ll ever seen, and I only had chin length hair. It takes a lot of lightening and toning to get your hair to a base colour that will take to brightness, especially the cooler colours like blues and greens. As for pastel or silver, you essentially need a white base. Often, to avoid absolutely murdering your hair, you’ll have to spread bleaching out over a couple of weeks, and deal with the in between colours.
It will damage your hair
There’s no avoiding this, if you bleach your hair, it will turn out damaged. Even the smallest amount of bleach will to some extent ruin your hair, and your days of naturally silky smooth hair are over. Be ready for frizz, cracking, split ends and a lot more fallout than usual. There are, of course, treatments you can do to reduce the amount of damage, but those have a tendency to strip your hair of colour pretty quickly. Olaplex wasn’t around when I first started bleaching my hair, but it is now, and according to people I know with coloured hair it is magical.
It stains, everything
You essentially have bright paint all over your head, so you’re gonna start finding it everywhere. I had a friend once who changed her hair so often and sat against the same spot on her wall, that it eventually had a rainbow pattern from all her different bright hair colours. When you wash it, your shower will be coloured, your body will have a tint, and everything looks a little bit like the colour of your hair. When you sweat, it will run. I ruined one of my favourite bikinis by wearing it to a music festival the day after I dyed my hair deep blue.
Do NOT do it yourself
I only recently started colouring my own hair, and I’ve had it bright for over 16 months. I will still never bleach it at home. You really need to go to a salon.
It’s not going to look like that Instagram pic you showed your hairdresser
This is not by fault of the hairdresser, but that girls hair probably doesn’t even look like that. These photos have filter upon filter upon filter, good lighting, and are taken as soon as the job is finished. Different hair also takes to colours incredibly differently, and your black-to-pink hair will not look like Hillary Duff’s ‘do.
Not to mention, half those photos you find of candy coloured hair are literally just photoshop, and if you reverse search the image you’ll probably find the exact same photo but with blonde, or even dark hair. Sorry. With these colours, you need to expect that it will basically be a surprise, and just appreciate how it turns out.
It takes maintenance
Especially if you have a colour over your whole head, even the tiniest bit of showing roots looks pretty ridiculous, not to mention the colour will fade very quickly so you’ll need to redye about every 3 weeks to maintain brightness. You have to change your makeup style, and your overall clothing style, since colours will tend to clash with your now bright hair.
Go somewhere that knows how to do bright colours
My first experience with bright hair and bleaching was honestly traumatising, because the hairdresser (who was amazing, and recommended by everyone) wasn’t experienced with the techniques necessary. A girl I know actually got blisters all over her head because someone didn’t know how to use bleach, and she was professional. Make sure you google, ask around, see if the salon you’re going to has photos of other bright coloured hair, and ask a lot of questions before deciding. It’s better to know before hand if they can’t do it than midway through the dyeing process.
I know this seems pretty daunting, but as someone who’s had coloured hair for a long time, I don’t know if I’ll ever go back. It’s really worth it if it’s the type of thing you want to do, it’s just not a decision you can make on a whim (unless you have light blonde hair, in which case, I’m incredibly jealous of you). If you’re not ready to commit, try buying a high end wig or getting coloured extensions. Although it seems like a lot of money, it’s a one time commitment rather than repeated salon visits.